UK celebrates Clean Air Day with nationwide events

Over 500 events took place yesterday (June 20) across the UK today to celebrate Clean Air Day.

Clean Air Day, which is coordinated by the environment charity Global Action Plan and takes place on 20 June each year, saw events ranging from walking buses and flagship announcements to electric vehicle roadshows and street parties.

The day, the UK’s largest air pollution campaign, is supported by over 200 organisations including Public Health England, British Heart Foundation, DEFRA, UNICEF and various NHS trusts and local authorities.

Chris Large, senior partner of Global Action Plan, said: ‘By highlighting the impact that air pollution can have on people’s health, we hope that we can encourage everyone to do more to tackle air pollution and protect their family’s health.’

Clean Air Day, the UK’s biggest air pollution campaign, takes place in June each year. Credit: Clean Air Day

The biggest announcement made so far was made by the Mayor of London Sadiq Khan, who revealed that London will be hosting its largest ever Car Free Day on Sunday 22 September.

Khan announced City Hall’s plans to close 20km of streets across Central London, including Tower Bridge and much of the City of London, so people can enjoy hundreds of free events and activities without cars and traffic.

18 London boroughs hosted their own events to celebrate the day including working with residents to create local ‘Play Streets’.

Several cities closed their streets, such as Glasgow which has closed off part of George Square for a free public event featuring many clean air-themed events and activities.

Festivities took place at George Square including a BMX track, live music, displays of low emission buses and electric vehicles and information on air quality in Scotland.

Greater Manchester has been hosting its own Clean Air Week, which has included pollution pods in Media City, Salford and electric vehicle and bike roadshows.

Thousands of schoolchildren across the city region have also been patrolling the streets outside their schools to warn drivers about the dangers of engine idling.

Foxhills Infant and Junior School in Southampton closed their school car park and replaced it with a carnival, while schools from across Caerphilly gathered at Caerphilly Castle for a series of workshops, performances and interactive stalls on air quality.

Away from schools, local authorities and medical professionals also got involved with Clean Air Day.

The Royal College of Physicians hosted a clean air conference in Liverpool and pharmacies in Camden and Islington in London put Clean Air Day stickers and messages on bags.

Meanwhile, Chiltern District Council held a Clean Air Day quiz in its offices.